Creative energy, sophisticated design mark end of Milan Fashion Week Men
The Milano Fashion Week Men for the Fall/Winter 2021-22 season ended on a high on Tuesday, with five quality collections by Dima Leu, Magliano, A-Cold-Wall*, JieDa and Les Hommes. The event’s fifth and final day once again showcased the breadth of the Milan Fashion Week’s range, from stylish minimalism to sophisticated design to cheerful, brightly coloured collections brimming with energy, presented in the week’s most accomplished videos.
Dima Leu: bold colours, big on stripes
Moldovan designer Dima Leu staged a surprising Milan Fashion Week debut, presenting a high-energy video in which his models are dragged into a crazy merry-go-round by a troupe of traditional Moldovan folk dancers clad in fuchsia tracksuits, boogieing to a wacky, Leningrad Cowboys-style soundtrack.
Leu’s maiden Milanese collection is big on stripes and borrows heavily from Striipes, one of the lines of his genderless label founded in 2015. The collection abounds with sportswear looks in jersey and cotton, whose bold patterns are created using velvet strips and appliqué fabric patches. Leu's chunky 3D lines and bands evoke the striped patterns of traditional Moldovan carpets, their rhythmic, geometric motifs featured on loose-fitting outfits, tracksuits, sweaters and assorted knitwear.
Leu has been living in Italy for years, ever since he moved to the country aged 15. Last September, he won the Who’s On Next? competition in the menswear category. He is also inspired by post-Soviet iconography, and his work blends musical influences, a variety of tailoring techniques, traditional craftsmanship and his own Moldovan heritage.
Magliano: the cheeky elegance of Italy's bad boys
Undoubtedly, Magliano clinched the trophy for the most enjoyable video of this Milano Fashion Week, which could not have ended on a better note. Designer Luca Magliano, in bitingly humorous form, assembled his habitual cast of colourful characters, clearly inspired by the bad boys penned by 20th century Italian poet and writer Pier Paolo Pasolini: a factory worker, a gangster, a country boy, an artist and a troublemaker, all strutting in their prize outfits, keen to outshine one another with their slightly retro, brawny elegance.
Bare-chested under unbuttoned cardigans and printed silk shirts open to the navel, they wear generously cut suits with oversize jackets and ample trousers with tailored darts, cut in fine fabrics like wool, flannel and assorted tweeds. The cardigans and loose-knit sweaters are hand-knitted in clever cable patterns. Denim too makes an appearance, in jeans and hunting jackets with maxi pockets, and so does leather, used for trousers and cute little sport jackets. The colour palette is mostly dark, occasionally brightened by warm hues like ochre or ruby red.
The whole Magliano gang gets together in an 18th century salon, under the lavish baroque frescoes of an ancient Milanese palazzo, Villa Arconati. Have they gathered for a funeral, or a wedding? It hardly matters, since they are about to witness a surprising incident: a Magliano-clad angel, perhaps plummeting down straight from Paradise, lands directly on top of the huge birthday cake being served to them. The angel comes to his senses, unruffled, and bestow on them a radiant kiss!
A-Cold-Wall*, designer urban fashion
The conceptual label by British designer Samuel Ross continues its metamorphosis, shifting from the avant-garde streetwear of its early collections in 2015 to minimalist-chic urban fashion, with a strong emphasis on outerwear and high-tech materials. A new direction that coincided with the debut of A-Cold-Wall* on the Milanese calendar in January 2020.
This is the third collection presented by Samuel Ross in Milan, unveiling a collaboration with British luxe label Mackintosh and renewed partnerships with Dr Martens and eyewear brand Retrosuperfuture. Ross makes a statement, broadening his fashion lexicon with a wardrobe that is both articulated and comprehensive, in terms of the range of items, textures (from wrinkled to pleated and more) and details.
In the intriguing A-Cold-Wall* video, the models criss-cross around a tent set in a pared-down, barely sketched set, under the prying gaze of an invisible character who observes them through a spyglass. Several understated looks can be glimpsed as the models glide around in a strange kind of ballet, the clothes both elegant and designed to afford great ease of movement. The cuts are sharp and highly contemporary, the garments super functional and protective. Some of the padded tops look like flak jackets, while the hooded anoraks and down gilets worn with thick nylon trousers resemble replica spacesuits, or ski suits.
The trousers, plain and cut in straight lines, are made of cotton, high-tech nylon or wool. There is an abundance of outerwear, from overcoats to raincoats, sport jackets, wind-breakers and anoraks, all with idiosyncratic detailing: a pocket’s diagonal line, pockets embossed on a shirt, reflective strips, leather inserts on a sweater, even straps that allow a torch to be affixed to the chest.
The colour palette is muted (white, grey, ash blue) with only a few flashes of colour, like the bright red knitwear. Abstract geometric patterns enhance the bottom end of a raincoat in random brushstrokes, or produce optical effects on a shirt, or result from maxi photographs printed on a t-shirt.
JieDa’s macadam cowboy
The Japanese label, like A-Cold-Wall* showing for its third season on the Milanese calendar, opted to present its collection with an attractive film steeped in a poetic atmosphere, portraying a cowboy riding along a beach, the infinite expanse of the sea on the horizon.
Designer Hiroyuki Fujita, who founded the label in 2007, delved for inspiration in the rodeo pictures lensed by US photographer and artist Richard Prince in the 1970s. JieDa's collection has a palette consisting exclusively of warm, wintry hues, with Wild West references subtly scattered throughout.
From the cowboy boots and snake-skin ropers to the widespread use of leather, to the cowboy images printed on the back of a jacket, or blended into jacquard sweaters. There is denim too, the fabric glittering with tiny sequin stars. Velvet outfits and cosy tracksuits add a softer feel to the collection’s Western vibe.
Les Hommes unveils womenswear
The menswear label - founded in Antwerp in 2004 and bought in 2011 by Flemish investment fund Palmyra Brands - presented its new womenswear line in a black and white video on Tuesday, together with the latest men's collection. Les Hommes already made a foray into womenswear once, but the project had been suspended.
This time, the duo of designers and founders Bart Vandebosch and Tom Notte dreamed up a series of ultra-sexy looks: mini dresses and bodycon skirts, fishnet stockings, sheer corsets and hemstitched knitwear. Les Hommes women sparkle in lurex leggings and sequinned jackets, their legs sheathed by latex thigh-high boots.
Their men instead flaunt the label’s very own rebellious chic-rock style, in slim-fit black suits and adventurer outfits with ranger boots. The collection is lifted to a higher plane by its remarkable outerwear, from biker jackets to shearling coats, pea jackets, glossy down jackets and technical tops with zipped pockets, oversize sweaters and even a cable-knit maxi poncho.
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